Importance of quality in waste streams


A recent joint message from two of the biggest exporters of recovered fibre (ACN Europe & DS Smith Recycling) has highlighted the importance of sourcing good quality waste paper from suppliers. This impacts on ALL suppliers of waste materials and should focus them to ensure that material is source-segregated wherever possible. If you're reading this and your business creates waste material, this means you!

By ensuring source segregation, this will ultimately make your waste paper more attractive to the recycling industry (which will do two things; 1) ensure that your material is always sought after no matter what the market and 2) give the opportunity to command a higher premium for the recyclate stream).

Both the exporters of recovered paper and the UK’s largest domestic paper recycling business have emphasised the need for reductions in the levels of contamination in paper they receive for recycling.

An edited excerpt from Let's Recycle is included below:

Speaking at the Resource Association’s conference in London on 9th July 2013, a joint message was delivered from Nick Watson, senior accounts manager for ACN Europe, and Jim Malone, European sales and purchasing director for DS Smith Recycling.

Cardboard recyclers still have concerns about the levels of contamination in a lot of material they receive

Mr Watson said his company wanted to see less contamination, “less plastics, cans and other material” in the cardboard it purchased. Quality is important because the Chinese authorities are clamping down on contaminated products entering its borders (an intiative known as Green Fence). Mr Watson explained that at the end of 2013 the Chinese authorities will be assessing all the information they have gathered during the Green Fence imposed to stop exports of waste to the country and to reduce contamination.

Mr Watson explained: “The Chinese will be collating all the information they can, who’s exporting, who’s fulfilling quotas, who’s exporting quality and who’s not. Taking all this into account, licences will be issued in the New Year.”

The principles of Green Fence will continue and these currently include a 1.5% maximum contamination rate.

'A lot of collection schemes are not delivering the kind of quality my paper mills need.'

Dr Jim Malone then followed Mr Watson and warned “A lot of collection schemes are not delivering the kind of quality my paper mills need. Customers of paper mills demand a high quality product and measure that quality in parts per million, while I’m expected to consider input material that has between 1% and 8% rejects. No other manufacturer would be expected to accept that level of rejects in their raw materials, so why should paper makers or any other material reprocessor?”

He reemphasised that his biggest challenge was finding clean sources of material to supply his mills.